Winter sprinkler switch-off

A switch-off applies to all scheme and bore water users in Perth, Mandurah and some parts of the South West, from 1 June to 31 August each year.


Am I included?

To find out if your home or business is affected visit our Winter Sprinkler Switch-off page.

Why does the switch-off exist?

Evaporation rates are generally lower in winter, so you can leave your sprinklers off and let the rain take care of your lawn and garden instead. The winter sprinkler switch-off aims to prevent wastage and save water for the drier months. 

The switch-off was put in place in 2010, and has been a permanent water saving initiative ever since. Last winter we saved around 5 billion litres of water by switching off our sprinklers and letting the rain take care of our gardens.

Reporting a breach

You can report breaches at anytime by completing our sprinkler breach form.

Please note that a malfunctioning irrigation controller is not an excuse for not complying with the switch-off, so please check your irrigation system – especially after a power black-out.

I have a rainwater tank – can I still use my sprinklers?

The Winter Sprinkler Switch-Off does not apply to irrigation systems that use water collected by rainwater tanks. The switch-off only applies to scheme and bore water users in Perth, Mandurah and parts of the South West and Great Southern regions. However, we do encourage everyone to irrigate only when necessary, regardless of the source.

Won’t my garden and lawn die if I don’t water it?

Winter brings with it cooler temperatures and lower evaporation rates which means the plants in our gardens don’t need as much water. Most lawns also go dormant over winter, so rainfall should be enough to keep your lawn alive.

I've just installed my lawn – can I still use my sprinklers?

If you've just installed a new lawn, you can apply for a new lawn exemption allowing you to water as necessary until it is established. You can apply for a new lawn exemption through our online form. Keep in mind that you will need to meet the conditions applicable to our exemption or be at risk of a fine up to $500. Breaches are the responsibility of the property owner, not the person who installed the lawn, plants or sprinkler system. 

Can I still test my irrigation?

You can employ a professional in the irrigation, turf, garden or landscaping industries to test your irrigation system on or outside of your allocated watering days and times, however:

  • testing is limited to a maximum of two minutes per station
  • the professional must be in attendance in the garden area where the sprinklers are operating
  • appropriate signage indicating that testing is in progress must be clearly displayed
  • inspectors will ask to view repairs.

Can I hand water during the switch-off?

Yes, customers are still able to hand water during the winter sprinkler switch-off as there are currently no restrictions on hand watering.

Can I get fined if I do use my sprinklers?

Yes, you can. The switch-off is an enforced ban, and anyone in the winter sprinkler switch-off area found using their sprinklers between June and August, risks a $100 fine. Our inspectors are out in force 7 days a week and all complaints are investigated.

What if my irrigation controller malfunctioned?

You could still receive a fine. A malfunctioning irrigation controller is not an excuse for not complying with the winter ban, so check your irrigation system – especially after a power black-out.

I’ve spotted a sprinkler breach. Where can I report it? 

If you’ve spotted someone using their sprinklers during winter, fill in our report a breach form or call the Waterwise Helpline on 13 10 39 (24 Hours)

I have a bore – can I still use my sprinklers? 

Like scheme water, bore water is still water and a resource that should be used wisely. The winter sprinkler switch-off applies to scheme and bore users, and if our inspectors catch a bore user not following the rosters we pass it on to Department of Water who issue infringements and are responsible for bore water licensing. There are some exemptions for bore water use, such as those using bore water for operational purposes.

For more information, you can read the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s FAQ’s.

Can I still maintenance test my bore?

Bore water users are allowed to flush sprinkler systems once a week on their normal rostered watering days, either before 9am or after 6pm, for about 2 minutes per station. If you have a bore and want to perform maintenance on your sprinklers, make sure you check your watering days first.

What about businesses – can they use their sprinklers during winter?

You might be surprised to know that the switch-off also applies to licensed groundwater users including local governments, schools, golf courses, government departments, universities, TAFE campuses, major parks, race grounds and businesses that irrigate areas of non-commercial turf, lawn and gardens.

The exceptions to this are active sporting locations, such as schools and local government ovals, which are permitted to irrigate during winter due to their frequent use, safety considerations and amenity planting.

The following metropolitan local governments are included in the winter sprinkler ban:

  • Armadale
  • Bassendean
  • Bayswater
  • Belmont
  • Cambridge
  • Canning
  • Claremont
  • Cockburn
  • Cottesloe
  • East Fremantle
  • Fremantle
  • Gosnells
  • Joondalup
  • Kalamunda
  • Kwinana
  • Mandurah
  • Melville
  • Mosman Park
  • Mundaring
  • Murray
  • Nedlands
  • Peppermint Grove
  • Perth
  • Rockingham
  • Serpentine-Jarrahdale
  • South Perth
  • Stirling
  • Subiaco
  • Swan
  • Victoria Park
  • Vincent
  • Wanneroo

The following regional local governments are included in the winter sprinkler ban:

  • Albany
  • Augusta‑Margaret River
  • Boyup Brook
  • Bridgetown‑Greenbushes
  • Bunbury
  • Busselton
  • Capel
  • Collie
  • Cranbrook
  • Dardanup
  • Denmark
  • Donnybrook‑Balingup
  • Harvey
  • Manjimup
  • Nannup
  • Plantagenet
  • Waroona

Create an action plan for your home

Use our water use calculator today
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Noticed a breach during the Winter Sprinkler Switch-off?

Contact our waterwise helpline to report it
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